UOMINI ALL’ITALIANA 1968
Zegna Ready-to-Wear: from the tailor to industry
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Ermenegildo Zegna’s entrance into the business, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group will host a dedicated exhibition at the historic Casa Zegna in Trivero, where Ermenegildo Zegna opened the Zegna wool mill in 1910. This exhibition “UOMINI ALL’ITALIANA 1968” provides an in-depth look at the origins of Zegna during the decade that spans 1968 through the late 1970s. The story takes visitors from high-quality textile production to the artisan commercialization of sartorial expertise and onto the affirmation of a luxury lifestyle brand. It is told through photographs, vintage materials, outfits and period pieces, originating predominantly from the company’s historical archives.
It was a pivotal move founded upon the strong combination of creativity, craftsmanship and innovation applied to traditional expertise. It also marked the beginning of what has become a fully verticalized luxury offer which today includes a comprehensive range of clothing and accessories.
University of Venice
Zegna also created TOP, named for the precious wool tops the company relied on, to promote this new paradigm, and turned it from an in-house instrument into an authentic communications tool. Part catalog and part fashion magazine, TOP covered everything from new fabrics and menswear fashions to cars, culture and emerging lifestyles. Its purpose was to transmit the Zegna way of living and its interpretation of style which will become a masculine fashion diktat all over the world.
Maria Luisa Frisa, fashion critic, curator and Director of the Degree Program in Fashion Design at the Faculty of Design and Arts of the IUAV University of Venice, who collaborated in writing the chapter “Men’s fashion is not a passing whim”, underscores the link between fashion and style. “Fashion and style were mixed in the language that Zegna introduced to put a cross its own of ready-to-wear, unique in the panorama of the country’s menswear industry because it was founded on the desire to extend to larger scale production a quality of tailoring which it neither wished not intended to renounce: a true project of industrial design, developed on the basis of the observation of real men”. She goes on to explain Zegna’s unique approach, “this diversification corresponded perfectly to the strategies that Zegna put into effect, promoting a coordinated elegance, or perhaps it would be better to say that the idea of “total look” at the base of the Italian style for which we were to become famous all over the world”.
Moving beyond fabrics and mass production, Aldo and Angelo positioned themselves as a lifestyle brand whose offer was sold through franchised corner stores and shown at PITTI in 1976, for the first time. Over the fifty years that followed, Ermenegildo Zegna continued to expand its offer and solidify its role as the international protagonist of excellence in menswear and accessories.
Just as the second generation did the 70s, the third generation – led by Gildo Zegna as CEO – completed another important step by taking the company into the world of retail with the opening of its first mono brand boutique in 1980 in Paris, France. In 1991, Zegna was the first fashion brand to enter the Chinese market, opening its store in Bejing. Thanks to the third generation Zegna became a global lifestyle luxury brand with a strong focus on the omnichannel strategy.
Today, Ermenegildo Zegna’s multifaceted ready to wear collections can be found in 504 Zegna stores (272 company-owned) in over 100 countries around the world.
The exhibition UOMINI ALL’ITALIANA 1968 is open every Sunday (2.30pm to 6.30pm) from May 6 – October 28, 2018. Held at Casa Zegna in Trivero, the celebratory exhibition pays homage to the rich history of a lifestyle brand that continues to anticipate and interpret evolving global male identities.
The essay dedicated to the exhibition is published by Marsilio Editori and edited by Mario Lupano and Marta Franceschini. Contributing authors include:
- Anna Zegna, President of the Fondazione Zegna
- Maria Luisa Frisa, fashion critic, curator and Director of the Fashion Design Degree Program at the Faculty of Design and Arts of the IUAV University of Venice
- Elda Danese, PhD, Lecturer at the Faculty of Design and Arts of the IUAV University of Venice
- Danilo Craveia, Archivist